Veena takes a lot of effort in re-arranging her work schedule so that she can help her 8 year old son with his studies. She finds that her son does not pay attention and makes careless mistakes. All these evening sessions end up with her shouting at her son and her son crying. She feels very guilty afterwards. She probably needs to understand that she is also very tired at the end of the day and that there could many other stressors in her life that are adding to her distress and making her angry.
Remember that if you are tired, fatigued or stressed, you may react by lashing out at your child. It happens to most parents at some point or another. Fortunately, there are steps parents can take to minimize or avoid the likelihood of over-reacting and remain in control when stress is high. It is important to step back before lashing out, regain perspective and make sure your reaction "fits the crime." Bear in mind that anything that hurts or scares a child is going too far.
How To Stay In Control
1. Take a few deep breaths, step back, and count to 10. Use the time to consider if it's actually the child you are angry with and not someone or something else, perhaps even yourself. For those who believe spanking or hitting is legitimate discipline, remember that experts broadly agree one must never strike a child in anger. This is because in anger, we tend to hit harder and things can get out of hand.
2. Getting away from the house for exercise is a superb way to relieve stress. Make it a habit to take children for a walk, to the neighborhood park or a playground where they can expend some energy.
3. Meet friends and talk about children. Conversation with peers offers a change of scene and a brighter perspective.
4. Whenever possible, take short breaks from care-giving responsibilities. Grab some time to relax during children's naps or independent play. Brief respites act as safety valves and restore energy so you are less likely to blow up if things go wrong.
5. Rely on and arrange for support for times when you're reaching your breaking point. When you feel your blood pressure rising, talk to a friend or family member who understands your children. This helps you let off steam, gives you a different perspective and the chance to gather your emotions. This can be especially important if your child is particularly difficult or has a special need or disability.
6. Arrange for a spouse, relative, neighbor, or hired help during the hours when children are most challenging. Pre-dinner, for example, is frequently the most difficult time. It's one of the times you're most likely to lose your temper because you're trying to keep children amused and prepare dinner. By then you're probably exhausted and the children are hungry and cranky. If feasible, handing over responsibility for the kids to the partner can be the greatest help.
7. Focus on what your child has done right rather than on the judgment error he or she has made. Remember that children (especially age 3 and below) are learning to control their impulses. So even though they know something is wrong, they may not have enough impulse control to refrain from doing it.
If you lose your temper and go overboard in a reprimand, own up to it. Apologizing to your children is a great way to role-model taking responsibility for a mistake. Your children will respect you for it and are likely to say, "it's okay".
If you continue to get angry at your child, seek counselling help. The amount of money and time you use in learning practical tools of communication and discipline are an investment in your child's future.